Winnipeg – Winnipeg Blue Bomber head coach Mike O’Shea doesn’t like to publicly criticize his players. And he doesn’t. Ever. But, Oshea has no problem pumping the tires of the players who wear blue and gold uniforms. And when it comes to linebacker Ian Wild, O’Shea’s praise knows no bounds.
It’s easy to be a Wild fan, says O’Shea, who calls Wild the complete pros pro.
“He has always been professional, he looks after himself tremendously well. His daily habits allow him to do what he’s able to do on the football field If you’re a young guy in that locker room, all you have to do is look at him and figure out what you need to be doing. He’s a guy that you need, you have to have in your organization” said O’Shea.
Going into the week 8 games, the 26-year old Wild is leading the CFL in defensive tackles, 48. On top of that, he has 6 special teams tackles. O’Shea says Wild’s phenomenal conditioning allows him to do the things he does. “He just has this ability, because he’s in the kind of shape he’s in, to run and sprint at full speed every single play. He does it for us on special teams and does it as a starter. It’s quite remarkable and it’s a pleasure to watch and it’s the way football should be played.” O’Shea added “I think he flies under the radar in terms of media coverage but I know that the coaches around the league know who he is and where he’s at. Our coaching staff and teammates love the way he plays. I don’t think he cares about the recognition and I hope I’m not blowing his cover because, as I said, his teammates, the fans, the staff here and everyone around the league know that he’s the real deal.”
Wild is reluctant to talk about himself, choosing instead to give credit to his defensive teammates for any numbers he is piling up. The 26-year old graduate of Mercyhurst College made an immediate impact when he joined the Bombers in 2013, earning the teams top rookie nomination registering 69 defensive tackles and 14 on special teams. He was even better in 2014 with 96 total tackles, 73 from his linebacker spot. That prompted a tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015 and after almost cracking their roster, he wasted no time in re-signing with the Blue Bombers. Other CFL teams were interested in Wild, but he cited his comfort level in Winnipeg and his faith in the Bomber coaching staff for his decision to return to the ‘Peg.
Wild, who also did the Bomber long-snapping in 2013 and 2014, has 203 defensive tackles and 42 on special teams in 42 CFL games. And if he isn’t the best linebacker in the CFL, he is certainly in the conversation.